RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra LIVE: Copland, Barber, Adams with Gavin Maloney
Three composers who shaped and defined the sound of contemporary American music with dazzling portraits of New York in its pomp, a touching memoir of an idyllic summer in Tennessee and an ecstatic vision of pioneers forging a new life in a new country.
The ‘Dean of American composers’ Aaron Copland forged a musical signature for the United States that generations since have emulated. Drawn from incidental music composed for a stage production of Irwin ‘Rich Man, Poor Man‘ Shaw’s play Quiet City, his atmospheric concert suite for trumpet and orchestra added a solo cor anglais to the bittersweet tale of a young man finding his way in 1930s’ New York.
‘Bright of voice and vivacious of presence’ (Opera Today), soprano Rachel Croash joins the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra for Samuel Barber’s gorgeous hymn to smalltown America, Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Setting lyrics by the film critic, novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and poet James Agee, it’s a sentimental and ecstatic lyric salute to a halcyon way of life soon to be swept away by modernity.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning John Adams, an early champion of Minimalism, is one of America’s leading living composers. Shaker Loops uses Minimalism’s repetitive techniques to hypnotic effect in a piece based on childhood memories of an abandoned Shaker colony in New Hampshire. Adams says it ‘summons up the vision of these otherwise pious and industrious souls caught up in the ecstatic frenzy of a dance that culminated in an epiphany of physical and spiritual transcendence’.
WATCH: Live-streamed on www.rte.ie/culture
LISTEN: Broadcast live on RTÉ lyric fm